Igniting Critical and Creative Thinking

April Activities Your Students Will Love

April is such an exciting month. Spring is finally here and the weather is beginning to change. There are so many exciting things going on this month. I love to bring all the fun of April and spring into the classroom. Spring is such a great opportunity to learn in fun and engaging ways. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite April activities that your students will love.

I love to take a look at the common and not-so-common holidays or events happening each month to see if I can incorporate them into my daily lessons. It’s so much fun to celebrate or have an exciting theme or activity to work on. My students always have more fun when we incorporate special days into our lessons. The activities are also typically hands-on which allows my students to really get involved in the process and it makes the experience much more memorable.

My Favorite April Activities

April is a busy month with many things to celebrate. Here are some special days in April and how you can incorporate themed activities into your lesson plans.

National Picture Book Day

National Picture Book Day is celebrated on April 2nd.

This is because Hans Christian Anderson, a renowned fairy tale writer, celebrates his birthday on this day.

Pictures books are important to emergent readers. They help to build vocabulary skills, teach sentence structure, and provide opportunities to work on story analysis. And . . . if they are read aloud they also provide wonderful opportunities for modeling fluent reading.

Picture books promote literacy and are an important part of a child’s journey of learning to read.

I love using picture books to teach important reading skills to my students. I do this by creating literature guides or book companions. Some of my favorites are The Day the Crayons Quit, The Invisible Boy, and The Smart Cookie. Choose any of these books, or one of your favorite picture books and celebrate the day. Better yet, choose all your favorites and build an entire day around picture books!

National Wildlife Week

National Wildlife Week is celebrated from April 5-9. It’s a great time to celebrate the beauty and diversity of nature’s wildlife. It is also a great time to teach students about habitats and conservation. My students always love learning about different animals and where they live.

The National Wildlife Federation has some great resources for the week that you can use to kick off your lessons. There’s a fun quiz that reveals what animal you are and some great videos with some cool facts about different wildlife.

students love learning about animals so engage them with a variety of activities for National Wildlife Week

You can do a variety of activities for Wildlife Week. Take your kids on a nature walk around the school. Complete an animal research project. Do creative writing using the point of view of an animal. You can even do a book talk with one of these cool books about nature and wildlife.

  • Animal Poems of the Iguazu: This neat book of illustrated poems brings the rainforests of Iguazu National Park In South America to life.
  • An Egg is Quiet: This book is full of beautiful pictures and descriptions of different types of animals and their eggs.
  • Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth: This book will take you on a tour of the many different habitats of the planet. You’ll also get an introduction to the animals that call it home.

Poetry Month

One of my favorites topics for April is poetry and that is because April is Poetry Month. There are so many fun activities and lessons you can complete to teach your students about reading and writing poetry. April 17th is a favorite day of mine because it is National Haiku Day.

I love to celebrate this day by taking my kids on a nature walk. We use loops (cone-shaped magnifying glasses) to look at nature. We zoom in to look at the details of nature.

We have great discussions along the way about all of the things they are observing in their exploration. They love playing the role of nature detective.

After our nature walk, we return to the classroom and complete a Georgia O’Keefe style drawing of what we saw.

Then, each student creates their very own Haiku about their image. It is such a fun lesson that everyone always enjoys. When we are done, I love to display each student’s artwork and poem side by side.

National Lima Bean Day

April 20th is National Lima Bean Day. Have some fun and celebrate this silly holiday with your students. A great way to do this is by reading A Bad Case of the Stripes. The book teaches a great lesson about being true to oneself.

In the story, Camilla Cream secretly loves Lima Beans. She doesn’t want to admit it though because her friends don’t like them, and Camilla wants to fit in. Camilla gets a bad case of the stripes, and in the end, Lima Beans are the only thing that will cure her.

My students always enjoy the book, and I love the teachable moments that it presents.

I also love to bring in lima beans and have them cooked in different ways. The kids enjoy taste testing to see which recipe is their favorite.

And . . . if you happen to be teaching plants this month, lima beans are so fun and easy to grow! All you need is some lima beans, paper towels, zip-lock bags, and water! After soaking the lima beans overnight, have each student gently wrap their lima bean in a moist paper towel. Place this inside of a small zip-lock bag and hang it on a sunny window. Within just a few days roots will appear and the seed will begin to sprout. You can also plant the lima beans in soil, students just don’t get to see the growth as quickly since the roots are hidden from sight.

National Look-Alike Day

This fun day is also celebrated on April 20th. It’s another silly holiday that you can use to get your students excited about learning. I always love to have my students come to school dressed up as their look-alike. They have a great time creating their outfits and telling us all about them. I’ve even had them write a short story or report about who they are dressing up as.

You know I like to incorporate books whenever I can. This special day is another opportunity to do just that. I love to read one of Joan Steiner’s Look-Alike Books. My students are always mesmerized by the illustrations. The more you look, the more you’ll see.

Zoom, by Istvan Bonyai, is a wordless book that completely draws my students in. The book takes them on a journey from a farm, to a ship, to a street. But as soon as you think you know where you are, it’s time to guess again.

Nothing is ever as it seems. This book is very thought-provoking and great for critical thinking. After we read it together, I have them create their own set of illustrations that will trick the minds of others.

National Earth Day

Earth Day just might be my favorite of the April activities that your students will love. It’s such a relatable day that everyone can celebrate. And what can be better than taking some time to focus on how we can take care of our planet and its resources.

I love to introduce our Earth Day studies with literature. Miss Rumphius, written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney, is my favorite book to celebrate Earth Day with.

This literature guide allows students to think critically while covering important skills such as comprehension, characters, vocabulary, part of speech, and so much more.

They love using this Earth Day craftivity to get in some fun writing practice too.

There’s also a fun art project included. The students always love learning to paint Lupines (also called Bluebonnets for my Texas friends).

This Miss Rumphius Literature Guide is filled with so many fun and engaging activities. You can spend the entire day focusing on Earth Day or teach it all week long! It’s such a great hands-on and engaging resource for this important holiday.

This Miss Rumphius literature guide is the perfect Earth Day lesson for kids of all ages.

What Will You Celebrate?

Save these fun and engaging April Activities to your favorite classroom Pinterest board. You’ll be all set with some amazing April activities that your students will love. Choose one or choose them all and keep your students engaged all month long.

Use these fun and engaging April activities to get your students excited about reading and writing this spring.

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hey y'all

I'm Susan!

I’m Susan Morrow and I help overwhelmed teachers create thinking classrooms where students discover the joy in learning and achieving.

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